by StorageReview Enterprise Lab

Tripp Lite SRCOOL7KRM Rackmount Air Conditioning Unit Review

When it comes to running a business that relies on storage technology, keeping equipment cool is paramount, as overheating can cause unscheduled shutdowns, system malfunctions, and even complete failures; all of which can result in expensive repairs/replacements, loss of important data, and valuable operation time. That’s where solutions like Tripp Lite’s SRCOOL7KRM come in. This rack-mounted air conditioning unit effectively blasts 7,000 BTU/h of close-coupled cooling power into highly-targeted areas of IT equipment. To that end, the SRCOOL7KRM is well-suited for heat-sensitive gear used in data centers, server rooms, network closets and other where rack-mounted equipment susceptible to heat. Because it has a small physical footprint, Tripp Lite’s air conditioning unit is also ideal for use cases where floor space is limited.

Tripp Lite SRCOOL7KRM Air Conditioning Unit Specifications

  • Input:
    • Nominal Input Voltage(s) Supported: 120V AC
    • Electrical Consumption: 1020 Watts Max
    • Input Connection Type: NEMA 5-15P
    • Input Cord Length (m): 2.1
    • Input Frequency: 60 Hz
  • User interface, alerts and controls:
    • Front Panel LCD Display: 2-digit LCD displays numerical temperature readout
    • Front Panel LEDs: Push-button control panel with multiple LEDs for operational configuration
  • Physical attributes:
    • Rack Height (U Spaces): 8
    • Shipping Dimensions (hwd / cm): 59.4 x 58 x 70.4
    • Shipping Weight (kg): 34.74
    • Unit Dimensions (hwd / cm): 35.3 x 44.1 x 57.2
    • Unit Weight (kg): 27.68
    • Color: Black
    • Form Factors Supported: Rackmount
  • Environmental: Cooling Capacity: 7,000 BTU / 2.0 kW
  • Communications: SNMP Compatibility: SRCOOLNET2(Optional) remote management accessory for remote monitoring and control
  • Special features:
    • Dehumidifier: 1.25L / hour
    • Compressor Type: Rotary
    • Refrigerant: R410a (Environmentally friendly, Non ozone depleting)
    • Refrigerant Amount: 18.7 ounces
    • Air Flow: 198.25 CFM
    • Amp Draw Nominal: 8.5
    • Sound Level (Noise): 57dbA
  • Certifications: Tested to UL484; CSA, RoHS
  • Product Warranty Period (Worldwide): 1-year limited warranty

To help lower power consumption here at StorageReview, we leverage a fresh air cooling system. Our server equipment runs fine under this method, although some devices are more heat resileant than others. Sensitive gear, like our UPS and battery rack can have longevity problems as temperatures pick up. This is where the SRCOOL7KRM steps in, offering an in-rack cooling solution as backup for hotter days. To help accomplish this, a magnetic sheet is attached to the front door of the rack enclosure, which works to direct cool air to our equipment rather than the entire room. Our long term goal is to have an additional servers and storage array mounted above to benefit from the cooler air as well.

Because it targets only a specific area inside a rack enclosure, the SRCOOL7KRM can be more energy-efficient than a freestanding air chiller if you don't need to cool the entire room. In addition, the SRCOOL7KRM can dispose of its own condensate, through evaporation of water sprayed across the hot condensor, removing the need to find a way to drain water away from the unit. The Tripp Lite air conditioning unit can also automatically restart after unexpected power failures, making sure the cooling is in place as other equipment comes back online. Users also have the option to schedule unattended shutdowns and startups via the built-in timer feature.

The SRCOOL7KRM sports a plain black 8U chassis, focusing on functionality and efficiency over design, which is norm for these types of devices since they are often hidden away in a room. Looking at the front panel of the SRCOOL7KRM shows the vast majority of real-estate taken up by the air filter, which helps keep the air flow clean and free of dust. This filter is permanent (no need to buy replacements) and can be removed for easy cleaning.

Above and below the filter are the directional vent/cool air outputs, which can be installed to provide either downward or upward airflow. To the right is the SRCOOLNET2 slot. This is an optional remote management accessory that gives users a handful of useful information and features over an Ethernet network (SNMP, Web, SSH or telnet), such as the ability to monitor temperatures, receive alerts, review logs and control settings. The SRCOOLNET2 also comes with an ENVIROSENSE temperature and humidity sensor, which gives users the ability to link cooling output with temperature readings.

On the far right is the digital display control panel, which allows users to manage the AC unit and get quick updates on operating conditions. This includes a numeric display, operating mode LEDs, temperature control buttons, Fan Speed Mode LEDs, and fan speed, quiet, timer, function and power buttons.

Mounting the SRCOOL7KRM is also straightforward and easy, as it works exactly like any other rack equipment that leverages 8U of space. It comes with a 7-foot cord that can be used with any a standard 15A (NEMA 5-15R) outlet. After installation you configure the cooling output to direct cool air up or down depending on if the AC unit is above or below your equipment. Since this is cooling two large UPS units and battery expansions, we opted to mount it on the bottom of the rack, where any possible water leak would drip onto the floor versus into our equipment.

In use it has worked out quite well operating in the background. Power consumption has been true to the spec sheet, drawing just over 1000w under load and about 150w in standby where the fans are continuously operating. Measuring the power usage with our Xitron XT2640 Power Analyzer we noted peak startup current hovered around 1,500w for a split second before dropping down to its normal operating range. The fans remaining on is very important since you block off normal incoming airflow with the magnetic door covers, so it keeps ambient or cooled air always flowing over gear installed in the rack. In our environment, we use a more limited amount of shielding on the front of the rack, just enough to keep the airflow pointed up, but not too much that if the unit ever failed or circuit dropped that airflow would be cutoff from our 24kW UPS array.

As we work out a sweet spot of cooling requirements versus power savings, we've been operating the SRCOOL7KRM with a temperature setting of 87F. In practice this has worked out pretty well, where we've been monitoring the UPS during this period. In the following chart we you can see where at 87-88F the temperatures dramatically drop (while the AC unit is operating) and then slowly pick back up after the AC unit turns off when it senses the overall room temperature has dropped to its standby limit. You can also see the section of time where the AC unit was turned off, where temperatures increased above that set limit.

Conclusion

The Tripp Lite SRCOOL7KRM rackmount air conditioning unit is an 8U, rackmount cooling unit designed to cool racked IT equipment. The SRCOOL7KRM uses 7,000 BTU/h of cooling power to cool off heat-sensitive equipment at close range. The AC unit is fairly compact and ideal for places where floor space is limited such as inside of a rack or an IT closet. The unit can be used both to keep heat-sensitive equipment from shutting down or failing and it can potentially lower overall power consumption as it will focus on keeping the equipment that is most sensitive to heat cooler versus cooling down the entire room when a large portion of the equipment can function fine in warmer environments. 

At StorageReview we have several pieces of heat-sensitive gear in our lab, particularly our UPS and battery rack. To help drive lower power usage, we've been adopting fresh air cooling for most scenarios, although as the heat picks we've turned to efficient spot chillers to offer just the right amount of cooling thats needed, where its needed. While our fresh air cooling has been quite effective, in Cincinnati we are just hitting higher temperatures outside and could use a boost in keeping our battery rack within the temperature range we want. We added the Lite SRCOOL7KRM to the bottom of our UPS and battery rack and used a magnetic shielding in the rack to focus the cooling across two 12kW UPS modules and battery shelves. We chose the bottom of the rack to avoid any potential water leaks (though the SRCOOL7KRM disposes of condensation through evaporating the water by spraying it on the condenser). We’ve found the SRCOOL7KRM to work quite well in the background and are still tweaking the unit to find the right balance between cooling and power efficiency.

The Bottom Line

The Tripp Lite SRCOOL7KRM rackmount air conditioning unit is ideal for keeping heat-sensitive gear running smoothly with a small physical footprint.

Tripp Lite SRCOOL7KRM product page

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